“Fred”, my wife called out, “that pig’s heading for town”!
Sure enough, as I scanned the fallowed farm field, there she was … head down and going as fast as her stubby feet would carry her lumbering body. Well over 100 kilograms worth of determination! ‘Oinkers’, as our kids nicked named her, started life as a cute little piglet – an addition to our hobby farm when we first moved from the city.
We never fenced her in … never had to. Her daily routine was simple. In the mornings we would open up her wee shed to feed her a breakfast of pig ration; but really, anything and everything would do her just fine. And, if our dog wasn’t careful, she would head butt him away from his dog dish and chow down whatever was remaining. Once she was planted, no amount of barking or growling would move her until she was good and ready. After that, she would normally lie out on our farmhouse porch … belching and sunbathing … often leaning against the back door, which meant we had to find an alternative exit.
Obviously, something was different today; and then the thought hit me. We’ve been seeing a slow parade of cars heading to the local church – whose bells were loudly proclaiming a marriage was taking place – complete with a large outside tent to feed the multitudes. And, whatever was on the industrial sized barbeque was filling the country air, and Oinkers’ nostrils. It didn’t take her long to figure it out. So, since we lived on the town’s outskirts, off she went. Now, I didn’t know if pork was on the menu; but I figured the family didn’t want the wedding guests mixing and mingling – with the real thing!
By now, though, she was already halfway across the adjoining field when I went after her with a rope in hand. Fortunately, she had slowed down to nibble some old corn cobs. Since I had always been a good athlete … played some school football … I decided to take her down with a ‘flying tackle’. And flying is exactly what I did as I bounced off of her like an India rubber ball. Next thing I knew I was lying flat on my back and seeing stars in the perfect blue of a sunny day.
I felt Oinkers come and sniff me over and with a snort of disgust she turned and sauntered back to the house. Lying there, I thought at what the local newspaper might print, if they only knew: ‘Oinkers Goes to Town … Owner Doesn’t Make It’.
I also remember, oh so many poignant memories from when our kids were younger. As I recall those now, the words of Barbara Streisand singing ‘The Way We Were’ come to mind.
“Can it be it was all so simple then / Or has time re-written every line / If we had to do it all again / Tell me – would we? Could we?” — The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand
On a cold winter’s day, our five-year-old daughter stood in the doorway, heartbroken, with the lifeless body of a newborn lamb in her arms. It was as if her life was slipping away. No one can tell her why: life just is. As my wife tries to console her, I cup the motionless little lamb in my hands while sitting by the wood stove’s heat, mulling over life’s many ups and downs.
Suddenly … could it be? The little creature is starting to stir! Frantically, my hands contrive to perform some kind of ‘CPR’, but really, I don’t know what I’m doing. Yet, in another few minutes, its head was up and bleating out loudly for its mother. Our excited children all came running with shouts of joy; I’m an instant hero!
It was the closest I ever came to pulling off a miracle and it reminded me that all life is a miracle – despite the pain, the loss and the heartache … or maybe it’s only our will that makes it so.
“So it’s the laughter / We will remember / Whenever we remember / The way we were”